The Late Dang Chee 31 October 1905

The Tumut Advocate and Farmers and Settlers' Adviser

"OK," in the "Gundagai Times," thus writes a tribute to the memory of the late Dang Chee:-

Another of the connecting links between the past and present has been removed by the death of Mr. Dang Chee.

As far as I know, the worst that could be said of him was that he was a native of the Chinese Empire.

Apart from that you could call him a "real white man" - I mean in principle, and with me that counts every time, no matter what color the skin.

It seems remarkable, when one throws his mind back a few years, to find how high the late Dang Chee ascended the ladder of fortune.

It is upwards of 40 years ago since I first saw the subject of this sketch.

He was then carrying on business as a "pig jobber," carrier and store keeper on the Adelong Creek, midway between Adelong and what is now known as Batlow, where the principal Chinese Camp was situated.

Those were the roaring days of the Adelong Creek.

About the latter end of the sixties, or the beginning of the seventies, the mining on this part of the creek became rather dull, and the flood of population rolled on to what is now known as Upper Adelong, where things were booming; and of course the Chinese formed a camp, which became quite a township on that part of the goldfield, and Dang Chee became chief storekeeper there.

Things went well with him till about the middle of the seventies, when there was another lull in the mining, and he removed to Tumut and opened a branch store there, about 1876, just after being married.

He told me then that only for getting a wife he would have followed the mining population to some other part of the State, and started business.

However, he seemed to be lucky in getting a wife, and also in starting business where he did, for I might venture to say that no store keeper in Tumut, Adelong or Gundagai ever amassed a fortune such as the late Dang Chee, with the exception of the late L. Mandelson; and I believe it was all done by honest, upright dealing, combined with very moderate charges, for I remember that prior to his starting in Tumut the prices were up to famine pitch.

As a business than he was never known to harass or summons people for money, except under aggravating circumstances.

He also paid strict attention to the business, minded his own affairs, and allowed everyone else to do the same.

His domestic life was also very happy, and I spent many a happy evening at his hospitable home.

He spared no expense in the education of his children. His son, Tang Chee, after passing through the school in Tumut, was given a good college education, first at the Presbyterian College at Bowenfels, and later at Scots College, Sydney.

His two daughters were highly educated, especially in music.

Charitable institutions found a worthy friend in Dang Chee, particularly the Tumut Hospital, to which he gave more hard cash than any other business man in the town.

The churches also benefited by his purse, especially the Presbyterian Church, of which, his wife and three children were regular attendants and church members, and if any of your many readers paid a visit to the Presbyterian Church in Tumut, they would see a beautiful marble baptismal font, a special gift from Dang Chee, with his name thereon.

There are many people about Tumut who will regret his death, for while he was improving his own position he was placing the town and district in a far better way than he found it.

Dang Chee was also a loyal British subject, not only by naturalization, but also in principles.